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View Full Version : Christine Clara Truman Janes Nominee Master Player Category ITHOF 2011


chris whiteside
Feb 23rd, 2011, 02:08 PM
As Christine has been nominated this year for induction into the Master Player Category at The International Tennis Hall Of Fame I looked up the Thread Finder in the Player category and was surprised to find that there never has been one for her.

She was undoubtedly the most popular British Woman tennis player of all time (yes even including Virginia Wade) and even after she had slipped down the rankings whenever she stepped on court in the UK there was an electric buzz among the crowd.

Her heyday was just before my interest in tennis began so I'm not really sure what the reason for her popularity was, probably just that she was quite a cumbersome sportsperson which is strangely endearing and behaved just like the girl next door which the British public seemed to like. I do have a memory of the Wimbledon final in 1961, which didn't really interest me at the time, of my parents and older brothers gathered round the old black and white television and the loud groans whenever things went against her!

She was unusual in that unlike most British players her peak years were early rather than in the twilight of her career.

In the 1961 Wimbledon final she had a bad fall which hurt her leg and although it did not prevent her from continuing the match the fact that she had had a similar previous injury probably caused her to play tentatively thereafter but whether this affected the final result who knows?

Even in 1961 she was not playing to quite the same standard as she had previously, particularly in 1959 and therafter never really reached the same standard again. To what extent injuries were resposible for this can only be conjecture but it was certainly a part of the equation. Every time she would seemed to be making progress again something else would crop up.

In the late 1950s Britain had a crop of top lady players and there some great battles between Christine and Angela Mortimer. It is interesting to note that at this stage she had the Indian sign on Ann Jones (Haydon) - Ann could just not cope with Christine's power and booming forehand signature shot.

Probably her most famous victory came against the world #1 Althea Gibson in the Wightman Cup 1958 which spearheaded a British victory. The resultant pressure from the British Press assuring everyone she would now win Wimbledon was surely a good part of the reason for her subsequent defeat in the fourth round to Mimi Arnold - an excellent American player but someone Christine should have been able to beat on grass.

In 1959 Christine was on fire and won both the Italian and French titles against top opposition but yet again the British Press stifled her chances at Wimbledon and she lost tamely to Yola Ramirez in 4r. At Forest Hill she was back to her best trouncing Ann Haydon in the semis before falling to Maria Bueno who was then Wimbledon Champion.

At this stage Christine was now clear #2 in the world and expected to challenge for #1. Things didn't go as well in 1960 although she reached the semis in the Australian, Wimbledon and Forest Hills (she didn't play RG). Unfortunately the draw had meant she came up against Maria at both Wimby and FH.

1961 brought quarter-finals at RG and Forest Hills plus the Wimbledon final but then she began to decline. At the time it seemed she had fallen off the radar but in actual fact she would still have been somewhere in the top 20. At that time there was only a world top 10 which individual corresondents would compile at the end of the Season.

tbc

Ignatius
Feb 23rd, 2011, 11:42 PM
As Christine has been nominated this year for induction into the Master Player Category at The International Tennis Hall Of Fame I looked up the Thread Finder in the Player category and was surprised to find that there never has been one for her.

She was undoubtedly the most popular British Woman tennis player of all time (yes even including Virginia Wade) and even after she had slipped down the rankings whenever she stepped on court in the UK there was an electric buzz among the crowd.

Her heyday was just before my interest in tennis began so I'm not really sure what the reason for her popularity was, probably just that she was quite a cumbersome sportsperson which is strangely endearing and behaved just like the girl next door which the British public seemed to like. I do have a memory of the Wimbledon final in 1961, which didn't really interest me at the time, of my parents and older brothers gathered round the old black and white television and the loud groans whenever things went against her!

She was unusual in that unlike most British players her peak years were early rather than in the twilight of her career.

In the 1961 Wimbledon final she had a bad fall which hurt her leg and although it did not prevent her from continuing the match the fact that she had had a similar previous injury probably caused her to play tentatively thereafter but whether this affected the final result who knows?

Even in 1961 she was not playing to quite the same standard as she had previously, particularly in 1959 and therafter never really reached the same standard again. To what extent injuries were resposible for this can only be conjecture but it was certainly a part of the equation. Every time she would seemed to be making progress again something else would crop up.

In the late 1950s Britain had a crop of top lady players and there some great battles between Christine and Angela Mortimer. It is interesting to note that at this stage she had the Indian sign on Ann Jones (Haydon) - Ann could just not cope with Christine's power and booming forehand signature shot.

Probably her most famous victory came against the world #1 Althea Gibson in the Wightman Cup 1958 which spearheaded a British victory. The resultant pressure from the British Press assuring everyone she would now win Wimbledon was surely a good part of the reason for her subsequent defeat in the fourth round to Mimi Arnold - an excellent American player but someone Christine should have been able to beat on grass.

In 1959 Christine was on fire and won both the Italian and French titles against top opposition but yet again the British Press stifled her chances at Wimbledon and she lost tamely to Yola Ramirez in 4r. At Forest Hill she was back to her best trouncing Ann Haydon in the semis before falling to Maria Bueno who was then Wimbledon Champion.

At this stage Christine was now clear #2 in the world and expected to challenge for #1. Things didn't go as well in 1960 although she reached the semis in the Australian, Wimbledon and Forest Hills (she didn't play RG). Unfortunately the draw had meant she came up against Maria at both Wimby and FH.

1961 brought quarter-finals at RG and Forest Hills plus the Wimbledon final but then she began to decline. At the time it seemed she had fallen off the radar but in actual fact she would still have been somewhere in the top 20. At that time there was only a world top 10 which individual corresondents would compile at the end of the Season.

tbc

Thanks Chris for this affectionate portrait of the charismatic Christine.I believe the last time she made an impact at one of the majors was 1965 Wimbledon where she beat the seeded Nancy Richey in three sets in the last eight and then fell 6-4 6-0 to Margaret Smith in the semis.

Christine was nominated for election to the Hall of Fame some years ago but didn't make it. I sincerely hope that she does this time.

austinrunner
Feb 24th, 2011, 01:04 AM
She didn't make it this year, either. Her previous nomination was in 2005.

chris whiteside
Feb 25th, 2011, 12:37 PM
In 1962 Christine was way below her best losing to Donna Floyd in 4r French and to Lesley Turner in 3r Wimbledon - Lesley was breaking into the very top ranked players but you would have expected Christine to win on grass. She had a few niggling injuries but(and I'm not 100% certain) I think this was the year she suffered a broken engagement so perhaps that may have played a part in her poor form. She certainly fell outside the top 10.

1963 was a strange year. Looking at the rankings there is no sign of Christine and you would think her level of play didn't improve.

In my opinion however, having a relatively untroubled year injury wise she was on her way back towards the top of the game. At RG she reached the semis before falling to Lesley Turner the eventual Champion after an 11-9 first set. Although she lost 4r at Wimbledon this was to Darlene Hard 8-6 in the final set. At Forest Hills she lost in the quarters to Margaret Smith (Court)in three sets. She had a good record against all but the top 5 players and had few bad losses.

Perhaps we cannot understand the mindset of the time from our own era but when the Blasters' Panel ranked 1963 Christine was #9 with 5 of the 7 panelists placing her top 10, even as high as #7, 1 at #11 and 1 at #12.

As Nelslus, an American said, regarding her non-top 10 status, "Who did Christine piss off that year? Gotta wonder what "politics" might have been involved".

But the correspondents of the day saw it differently - of a dozen lists only one gave her a top ten placement and that at #10. Strange. Personally I had her at #9.

Could she complete her rehabilitation in 1964?

trivfun
Feb 26th, 2011, 05:13 AM
I remember a post of comparing one slam folks like Sabatini to Conchita Martinez and who had a better career. I want to ask if Christine had a better career than Gabriella Sabatini?

trivfun
Feb 26th, 2011, 05:17 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR3TkvPO5to

Here is a detergent commercial of her back in 1983 called Daz.

chris whiteside
Mar 7th, 2011, 12:58 PM
In 1964 Christine was playing reasonably well and reached the quarter final at RG falling to Lesley Turner. Then at Manchester she took a heavy fall once again exacerbating her leg injury and was out of Wimbledon and the rest of the Season.

Determined to make her presence felt at the top of the game once again, Christine recovered from injury went to South Africa at the beginning of 1965. In the middle of this trip she flew to join the British Federation Cup team in Melbourne where she played the #2 singles. She stayed to compete in the Australian Champs and reached the 4r losing to Robyn Ebbern which was a not a bad loss since Robyn was at that stage a world top 10 player.

On returning to resume her tour of South Africa Christine came good at their National Championships when she beat Francoise Durr and Annette van Zyl to take the title to add to her victories in both the Eastern and Western Champs. It has to be pointed out however that apart from the aforementioned the only other main opposition in the event were a couple of middle ranking home players but it was still a great win.

There was great excitement in the women's game in GB at that time. With Ann Jones more or less being a tennis playing housewife in 1964 and rumours that she might decide to retire, the #1 position was up for grabs. Moreover Elizabeth Starkie had won 2 out of 3 meetings with Ann at the start of the Season.

The scene was set to see where the balance of power lay as a confident Christine clashed with Ann at the Cumberland tournament. But gone where the days when Christine would blow Ann off court as Mrs Jones won a close match.

Christine's highlight of the year came at Wimbledon as unseeded she won an electrifying and nerve-ridden quater final against Nancy Richey before bowing to Margaret Court 6-4 6-0 in the semis after putting up a good fight in the first set.

Then disaster struck once again as Christine aggrevated her Achilles Heel and was forced out of the Wightman Cup Team and US Championships.

Although after this she never really threatened at the major Championships again at the end of the year she had done enough in the eyes of the world's correspondents to gain a top 10 ranking.

At the Wightman Cup Ann Jones had met up and been influenced by Maureen Connolly and her career once again took an upward spiral so despite the predictions of gloom from the media she retained her #1 ranking in Britain but Christine who was unranked in 1964 due to "insufficient data" was now challenging at #2.

Interestingly although out of line with the majority Ned Potter of World Tennis ranked Christine at #7 1 place ahead of Ann Jones in the world rankings.

austinrunner
Mar 7th, 2011, 07:53 PM
Against Billie Jean Moffitt King, Christine Truman Janes was 4-8 overall: 2-3 in singles, 1-4 in women's doubles, and 1-1 in mixed doubles.

In 1963, Truman Janes lost the longest set (in terms of games played) of singles in women's tennis history. Moffitt King won the second (and final) set of their Wightman Cup match 19-17 on clay in Cleveland.

chris whiteside
Mar 14th, 2011, 02:46 PM
After 1965 Christine was habitually plagued with an Achilles' Heel problem and was never able to mount a significant challenge at the top of the game. She missed playing in a lot of Slam events.

For some peculiar reason Arthur Collins stops listing Christine's Slam career after 1967. It can't be because of Open Tennis because other players such as Karen Susman who played occasionally after then are detailed in full. He lists her as reaching 2r at Wimbledon in 1966 and 1967 but I believe he is mixing her up with her sister Nell - I don't see Christine in the draw in those years.

She did have a couple of useful single results. In 1967 she recorded Britain's only Wightman Cup victory at Cleveland when she beat Rosie Casals. In 1969 she reached 4r at Wimbledon although she was then thrashed 6-2 6-0 by Margaret Court.

However at Forest Hills that year having announced her intended retirement from the international circuit she had her "last hurrah" when she beat Kerry Melville seeded #8 in 1r and reached the last 16 where she fell to Karen Krantzcke.

In the 70s Christine did play at Wimbledon on 3 occasions and in 1971 she reached 4r where she lost to Billie-Jean 6-2 7-5 which seems a very respectable performance.

In 1973 she lost in 1r to one Martina Navratilova 6-1 6-4.

While she was never really known as a great doubles player she did win the Australian Doubles in 1960 in partnership with Maria Bueno beating Lorraine Coghlan and Margaret Smith in the final 6-2 5-7 6-2.

Playing with Beverley Fleitz she reached the Wimbledon final in 1959 losing to Jeanne Arth and Darlene Hard 2-6 6-2 6-3 and then bizarrely in 1972 she teamed up with BFTP favourite Winnie Shaw to enter and surprisingly make the final at RG bowing to Betty Stove and BJK 6-1 6-2.

Christine originally played with Shirley Bloomer-Brasher but when she retired the LTA were keen to pair her up with Ann Haydon as her regular partner Angela Mortimer also retired. The pair never really gelled well together - they did make a couple of Slam semis but at Wimbledon in 1961 and 1962 they lost to seemingly inferior Italian and South African opposition you would have expected them to beat.

To the disapproval of the LTA Christine then announced she wanted to play with her sister Nell. This actually worked well for Ann Jones as Sandra Reynolds-Price had retired and Renee Schuurman was looking for a new partner. Ann and Renee teamed up and for the next two years until Renee married and quit they were one of the top 3 doubles players in the world winning the French in 1963 and reaching the Wimbledon semis.

Christine and Nell were a handy doubles combination without being world-beaters. In 1968 they won the final rubber against Stephanie de Fina and Kathy Harter 6-3 2-6 6-3 to give GB a rare 4-3 win in the Wightman Cup.

This has just been a very rough guide to Christine's career. Is it enough to justify a position in the Master Class at the ITHOF?

I really couldn't say - those in the know will decide based on whatever they consider the criteria. I just hope that Christine and any other nominees this year are judged on merit and not sentiment.

chris whiteside
Mar 15th, 2011, 07:35 PM
Christine's World Ranking.

Left-hand position Lance Tongay of UK Daily Telegraph, right-hand Ned Potter of World Tennis.

1957 09 07
1958 06 07
1959 02 02
1960 04 04
1961 07 04
1962 -- --
1963 -- --
1964 -- --
1965 07 07

Unranked in top 10 after 1965

LTA Official Rankings

1957 02 Jt
1958 01
1959 01 Jt
1960 01 Jt
1961 02
1962 06
1963 02
1964 Insufficient data
1965 02
1966 Insufficient data
1967 03 Jt
1968 05
1969 04
1970 unranked
1971 05
1972 unranked
1973 Insufficient data
nothing thereafter.
Thanks for the informative and entertaining read!
__________________
Traits Gandhi considered the most spiritually
Rankings after this unknown

Andy T
Mar 16th, 2011, 09:45 AM
Hi Chris,
The World of Tennis annuals give the following rankings:
1970 - not in top 10
1971 05
1972 - not in top 10
1973 - insufficient data
nothing thereafter.
Thanks for the informative and entertaining read!

preacherfan
Mar 17th, 2011, 03:07 AM
Haven't posted in a loooong time, but thought I'd weigh in on Truman's credentials. In more recent years, there have been one-time Slammers enshrined at Newport. But the one thing that Sabatini, Durr, Novotna had that Christine didn't was longevity among the world's best players. Christine's time at the top was briefer and then she became a non-contender for many years. Also, the other players (along with Shriver and Casals) were among the best doubles players in the world for some or all of their careers. Truman didn't have that distinction. I would think that Sperling should get in before Truman. But hey, if they ever put Majoli or Myskina in, Truman will have been ripped off.

chris whiteside
Mar 20th, 2011, 02:21 PM
Hi Chris,
The World of Tennis annuals give the following rankings:
1970 - not in top 10
1971 05
1972 - not in top 10
1973 - insufficient data
nothing thereafter.
Thanks for the informative and entertaining read!

Good to see you still, lurking, Andy. ;)

Thanks for info.

chris whiteside
Mar 20th, 2011, 02:33 PM
Haven't posted in a loooong time, but thought I'd weigh in on Truman's credentials. In more recent years, there have been one-time Slammers enshrined at Newport. But the one thing that Sabatini, Durr, Novotna had that Christine didn't was longevity among the world's best players. Christine's time at the top was briefer and then she became a non-contender for many years. Also, the other players (along with Shriver and Casals) were among the best doubles players in the world for some or all of their careers. Truman didn't have that distinction. I would think that Sperling should get in before Truman. But hey, if they ever put Majoli or Myskina in, Truman will have been ripped off.

Tend to agree with you, P/F although in fairness to Christine her leg injury which plagued her from 1961 onwards was, imo, the reason why she never could make it back to the very top. Every time she seemed to be improving she would be out injured again.

The heavy fall she sustained in the 1961 Wimbledon final may very well have cost her the title although it was not unusual for Angela Moertimer to come from behind to win against her.

The mechanics of the game then meant that you probably didn't see much further than the top 10 but looking at Christine's results overall even after she slipped back she was surely a pretty solid top 20/25 player.

But then injuries etc are all part of the game.

Interestingly Karen Susman never made it to ITHOF despite her Wimbledon title and 2 Wimbledon and 1 US doubles titles but she was only around for about 5 or 6 Seasons and apart from her Slam win never progressed further than the quarters at any other.

preacherfan
Mar 21st, 2011, 12:21 AM
Interestingly Karen Susman never made it to ITHOF despite her Wimbledon title and 2 Wimbledon and 1 US doubles titles but she was only around for about 5 or 6 Seasons and apart from her Slam win never progressed further than the quarters at any other.

Hadn't thought about Susman. Since Wimbledon was by far the premier event, it's surprising that Karen isn't in the Hall. Her doubles Slams are pretty significant. But she definitely was a one-Slam wonder.

Ms. Anthropic
Apr 2nd, 2014, 08:31 PM
Occasionally, "The Times" has its own version of Blast From the Past.

Miss Truman against America - 03 July 1957
The Times
London, England
Friday, July 3, 1992

Christine Truman was at 16 the youngest girl to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon this century. She lost to Althea Gibson (referred to as Miss Gibson of Harlem throughout), who went on to become the first coloured player to win a Wimbledon title.

MISS TRUMAN AGAINST AMERICA
From our Lawn Tennis Correspondent

It was ladies' day at Wimbledon yesterday in every sense. Here were the last eight of the women to contest their singles; here was the feminine element filling the surrounding and sunny picture with fashion and colour. The centre of this day's picture included five American players and with them three of the seedlings the Misses Truman, Reynolds and Reyes, of Great Britain, South Africa, and Mexico, to offer youthful challenge. It was a situation that offered much. Two questions overrode all others: would Miss Brough, Wimbledon champion of 1948, 1949, 1950 and 1955, take a step forward towards another title; would precocious youth have the last word with its elders?

In the event the answers were no and yes. No to Miss Brough, who was fairly and squarely beaten by her American sister, Miss Hard, to the extent of 6-2, 6-2; and yes to Miss Truman, who lifted the roof off the centre court when she beat Mrs. Pratt, also of America, by 9-7, 5-7, 6-4 in a tingling match that stretched across almost two hours of suspense and heartbeat. So now, almost like some fairy story, Miss Truman, at the tender age of 16 in her first Wimbledon , has won a place in tomorrow's semi-finals, where she will play the favourite, Miss Gibson of Harlem.

With the hour hand just coming up to 5 o'clock arrived the most pointed moment so far of this year's Wimbledon . Miss Truman swept her forehand drive to the sidelines, Mrs. Pratt groped in vain; a breathless last rally was over, the tension broken, and a splendid British victory was being cheered to the echo. Indeed, at that precise moment Miss Gibson was about to serve for her own victory of 6-3, 6-4 over Miss Reynolds on court one just next door. But the wave of noise broke over the stands. The swelling roar was taken up far and wide, and Miss Gibson, rather perplexed, was forced to stand and wait while the crowds and the hubbub subsided. It was a moment to remember.

It was a fine match, full of contrast, excitement, challenge and recovery, and at the end of it all there were two points to make, each pleasant. First, the packed gallery of the centre court kept its impartiality splendidly until all pent-up feelings broke through finally; secondly, Mrs. Pratt was the most generous of opponents.

The two were poles apart in their methods, Miss Truman again lived on her forehand drive, which every now and then fairly swept the court from end to end. To this she added some astute lobbing as occasion demanded. Mrs. Pratt, on the other hand, offered far the wider variety. Here was the drop shot, often beautifully timed and measured, followed by the deep lob if required, and the low slice to the backhand. But most of all she settled herself in the forecourt, searching for every volley.

Some would have been broken, and indeed there came two crises in the match when it seemed that Miss Truman would succumb on the very threshold of victory. Outwardly she looked calm and collected, for all the world like some tall schoolgirl out for a little afternoon's exercise. But deep down the strain must have told as the tide that seemed to be flowing smoothly her way suddenly ebbed. Yet in the nick of time she recovered to hold on to a triumph she richly deserved.